Imagine moving countries for a brand-new job, only to discover that you have been sold to your employer for $4,700. It sounds preposterous, but is the real-life story of Salma Begum, a 39-year-old Indian Hyderabadi woman, which made headlines last year. Salma, duped by fraudulent recruitment agents, was sold to her employer, who tortured her after she refused to marry him. While Salma made it to Mumbai after an intervention by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, hordes of blue collar migrants in similar positions are not as fortunate.
Rashmi Sharma retired from the Indian Administrative Service in 2017. She has worked and published extensively in the areas of elementary education and local self-government in India. She is currently engaged in researching and writing about the structure and working of government at the grassroots levels.
Shalini Singh is an Indian journalist who was Principal Correspondent for The Week newsweekly in Delhi. She was part of the Delhi bureau writing on a range of news-features, social trends with a focus on gender and women's issues, arts and culture. On a Centre for Science and Environment fellowship in 2010, Singh exposed the illegal mining in the Indian state of Goa and the devastation caused from unplanned tourism.
Are rural Indian voters sophisticated enough to navigate the complexities of local elections in India? The 1992 passage of the 73rd amendment gave constitutional status to village councils—rural India’s lowest tier of government— and mandated regular elections for village council (gram panchayat or GP) members and the GP president, resulting in millions of elected positions in local government. This empowered village leaders, and particularly the GP president (sarpanch) with substantial discretion over the local implementation of government programs.
About the Speaker:
About the Speaker:
Gareth Nellis (Ph.D., Yale University) is the Evidence in Governance and Politics Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. His research focuses on political parties, in particular the origins and persistence of weakly institutionalized party systems, and the extent to which parties matter for key development outcomes. A second strand of work addresses the drivers of discrimination against internal migrants in fast-urbanizing settings.